The French will not escape the shock dreaded against the United States in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, after their defeat against Australia 100 to 98, Monday in Nanjing, in a spectacular match where they have not defended well enough.
Evan Fournier (31 points, his record in the French team), and Nando De Colo (26 points) have again managed a festival in attack, as two days ago in the victory over Lithuania (78-75), Assuring the Bleus their ticket for the quarters.
"It's heartbreaking, we made an incredible match, almost beyond what I could hope in the offensive field," said the French coach Vincent Collet.
But the players retained only their underperformance in defense.
"It's nice to score 98 points, but not when you take 100! There were no other problems in this game. It's not our game, "commented De Colo.
"We could not lose by scoring 98 points with the defense we had proposed so far. Unfortunately, we did our worst game in this area. We fell into a style of play where we wanted to respond by scoring and not stopping and it cost us the match, "analyzed the captain Nicolas Batum (13 points).
Everything was played in the last minute against Australia, and even in the last five seconds. France was one point behind and, during a timeout, Vincent Collet had set up a system for Nando De Colo. But Andrew Albicy, though very good so far, sent the ball over the untenable Australian leader Patty Mills.
"At least he had to have a shot. We were only one point behind and the match was so crazy that if the ball had arrived I would have seen Nando (De Colo) able to make the decision, "said Collet, less severe than his players on the performance of the Blues.
"We are not dead"
"In defense, in the first half, we were a little lulled by the sweet music of the attack. We rectified the shot but it became really crazy. I do not want my players, I even congratulated them for this very great match. I asked them not to lower their heads in the locker room, "he said.
The Blues have failed to stop the spirited San Antonio Spurs leader Patty Mills, author of 30 points, and they were surprised by the shots from the pivot Aron Baynes, one of five Australian players playing in the NBA (5 of 6 three points, 21 points total).
The French will have to make a long trip to Dongguan to challenge the United States, who are already in the south of China, in Shenzhen, near the place of the match on Wednesday.
But hope is not extinguished. "It's hard because we do not like losing, but we're not dead," said Batum.